Vol 1 No 2
A park for all: objectives of
the park and
about its construction
the atlas moth
at the Park:
feeding ecology studies
the study of insectivorous
bats at the Park
Sponsorship towards Nature Conservation and Education
A Park for All
On 6 December 1993, the Park was officially opened by Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. In his opening speech, he spoke of the
government's commitment to nature conservation which is evident in the
setting aside of 5% of land towards the cause. Viewed against the demanding
needs of housing and economic development, this is indeed a luxury.
Sungei Buloh was originally zoned as
part of an agro-technology park. However, in 1989, the Ministry of National
Development designated it as a sanctuary for wild birds and as a nature
park. Between 1989 and 1993, it was developed so that it would be more
conducive for migratory shorebirds to roost and feed in. Hides and screens
for observation of birds were also constructed for use by both birdwatching
enthusiasts and the general public.
A large part of the Park used to be mangrove swamp. Much of this was
cleared by early settlers who converted the mudflats into prawn and fish
In the course of development, small ponds were enlarged to form bigger
irregular-shaped ones which were more suitable for the roosting and feeding
habits of shorebirds. Islands were also created in parts of the ponds. They
serve as safe feeding and resting areas when the tide enters the ponds.
During the period of development, fear and apprehension were expressed by
of the Park
To function as an important site in the East Asian Migratory Flyway for
waders and to maximise the carrying capacity of the reserve for birds and
To provide education of the natural sciences, in the local context,
through the natural and diverse interest within the reserve.
To provide an alternative form of recreation to encourage appreciation
of the beauty and diversity of wildlife.
To contribute to ornithological and biological knowledge regionally and
groups felt that it was detrimental to the visiting bird population and that
the works frightened away the feathered visitors. Development works were done
in phases so that birds were not devoid of feeding grounds. It has been four
years since then and the Park is delighted to say that the number of species
of birds sighted has not diminished. Instead, it has increased from 126
species in 1990 to the present 169.
Unlike man, most birds do not store food. If they are not sufficiently fed,
they will not be able to fly the migratory route or withstand harsh
conditions and will also easily fall prey to predators. As such, they seek
safe feeding grounds. And they return to these places if they sense there is
no threat there.
Whether or not birds will continue to visit the Park depends on how visitors
treat them. If visitors disturb them and behave in a manner which causes them
to fear, these birds may choose to go somewhere else instead. And if other
suitable habitats are destroyed, their survival would be threatened.
It is the aim of the Park that conservation works hand in hand with education
and recreation. It is hoped that Singaporeans and other visitors will
appreciate the essence of the Park and share our sentiment that one of life's
pleasures is in watching birds and other wildlife in their natural habitats.
If these are achieved, the role of the Park would have been fulfilled and the
setting aside of prime land as a nature park in land-scarce Singapore would
have been worth the economic sacrifice.
visit to the Park
Throughout the year, visitors can expect to see mangrove and resident birds
like kingfishers, sunbirds, herons and bitterns. In addition, mangrove
wildlife like crabs and shellfish can be seen crawling on the tree trunks on
basking in the mudflates at low tide. From
September to March, look out for migratory birds, in particular shorebirds or
waders. November, December and January are the best months for watching them.
Patience and silence are pre-requisites to catching a glimpse of some of
these fascinating inhabitants of the wetlands.
In addition, we would like to advise visitors of a code of conduct that
should be observed so that everyone can enjoy the day spent there.
a nature park, the reserve is first and foremost a home to plants and animals
and it is important that their needs are respected. For example, picking of
leaves, flowers and fruit are forbidden in the Park. Such actions damage
plants. In addition, uncontrolled picking results in abuse. Uncommon species
may become extinct locally.
Another rule relates to the control of noise within the Park. Shouting,
singing and loud talking disturb wildlife as well as other visitors'
enjoyment. When intimidated, wildlife goes into hiding. Nature enthusiasts
who visit to experience the sights and sounds of the wild will therefore be
sorely disappointed when they cannot see the occasional water monitor,
bittern, or listen to the quarrel of two White-breasted Waterhens.
It must be remembered that the Park is a refuge for 'wildlife'.
Pets are not allowed in the Park because they may create disturbance. For
example, dogs may bark and chase after wildlife.
do remember that 'poaching' is an offence punishable by law and poachers will